Middle East Airlines-Air Liban (MEA), the flag carrier of Lebanon, has signed a firm order for five Airbus A321neo and five A320neo aircraft.
The purchase agreement from the Lebanese airline follows MEA’s signing a memorandum of understanding on July 12, 2012. Airbus announced the deal at the Farnborough Airshow International 2012.
MEA will announce its engine choice at a later date, according to Airbus.
“Airbus’ A320neo family is the ideal choice for an airline such as Middle East Airlines,” says MEA Chairman-Director General, Mohamad El Hout. “An aircraft offering fuel burn saving, high reliability as well as a modern and comfortable cabin is a sound investment in anyone’s books.”
“Middle East Airlines is going to be well positioned with these A320neo family aircraft in its fleet to maintain its record as one of the most successful airlines in the dynamic Middle East region,” says John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer, customers.
MEA operates one of the most modern fleets in the Middle East region, according to Airbus. It currently has four Airbus A330-200 widebodies, four A321s and 10 A320s in service.
The A320neo ‘new engine option’ for the Airbus A320 family will enter service in late 2015. It incorporates new-generation engines (customers can choose between the Pratt & Whitney PurePower PW1100G geared turbofan and the CFM International LEAP-1A), as well as large ‘Sharklet’ wing-tip devices.
Together these upgrades will deliver up to 15 per cent in fuel savings, according to Airbus. The manufacturer says the fuel saved per aircraft per year will be 1.4 million liters – an amount equivalent to the consumption of 1,000 mid size cars, saving 3,600 tonnes of C02 per aircraft per year.
With firm orders for more than 1,600 aircraft since its launch in December 2010, the A320neo family has proven to be the fastest selling commercial aircraft program ever, according to Airbus. Depending on how many more firm orders Boeing accumulates for the 737 MAX family in the next nine months, the 737 MAX could steal that record away.
To date, nearly 8,900 Airbus A320-family aircraft have been ordered and more than 5,300 delivered to more than 380 customers and operators worldwide.